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A Report, Labour MP's Question, & Rishi Sunak's Response on BBC Docu on PM Modi

BBC claimed that the UK conducted an inquiry into the Gujarat riots, but the report was not released.

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A Report, Labour MP's Question, & Rishi Sunak's Response on BBC Docu on PM Modi
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Defending Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the British Parliament, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that he disagreed “with the characterisation” of his Indian counterpart in the BBC documentary on 2002 Gujarat riots.

Sunak made the remarks while responding to Labour MP Imran Hussain during the Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) session in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Hussain highlighted the claims made in the first part of the BBC documentary titled India: The Modi Question, and said that the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) were aware of the “extent of Narendra Modi’s involvement” in the riots that claimed at least 1,000 lives.

The BBC documentary claimed that the UK government conducted an inquiry into the Gujarat riots when Jack Straw was British foreign secretary, under the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The release of the first part of BBC’s two-part series on the riots has sparked outrage, triggering a sharp response from India. The documentary questions then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the communal clashes.

A Report, Labour MP's Question, & Rishi Sunak's Response on BBC Docu on PM Modi

  1. 1. 'Families Without Justice': What Did Imran Hussain Say?

    During the PMQs, Hussain, the Labour MP from Bradford East confronted Sunak and said that the BBC revealed that the FCDO “knew the extent of Narendra Modi’s involvement in the Gujarat massacre that paved the way for the persecution of Muslims and other minorities that we see in India today.”

    Hussain also pointed out that several senior diplomats reported that the violence could not have taken place "without a climate of impunity.” He also claimed to quote the FCDO and said that Modi was “…in the FCDO’s words, ‘directly responsible’ for the violence.”

    He then went on to launch a pointed question towards Sunak and asked, “Given that hundreds were brutally killed and that families across India and the world, including here in the UK, are still without justice, does the Prime Minister agree with his Foreign Office diplomats that Modi was directly responsible?” 

    Expand
  2. 2. Now, What Did Rishi Sunak Say?

    Not Much.

    Without directly naming the Indian PM, Sunak said, “The UK government’s position on that is clear and longstanding, and it has not changed.” 

    He added, “Of course, we do not tolerate persecution anywhere, but I am not sure that I agree at all with the characterisation that the hon. gentleman has put forward.”

    Expand
  3. 3. What About the Elusive ‘Internal’ Report?

    In the BBC’s documentary series, Jack Straw, British foreign secretary during the riots, said, “What we did was to establish an inquiry and have a team go to Gujarat and find out for themselves what had happened. And they produced a very thorough report.” 

    Straw further added that, according to the report, the claims that “Chief Minister Modi had played a pretty active part in pulling back the police and in tacitly encouraging the Hindu extremists” was “very shocking” and “very serious.”

    The BBC said, “The report, sent as a diplomatic cable and marked ‘restricted’, has never been published before.”

    Moreover, the programme highlighted “extraordinary claims” from the report, which allegedly said:

    “Extent of violence much greater than reported… widespread and systematic rape of Muslim women…. Violence, politically motivated.... Aim was to purge Muslims from Hindu areas. The systematic campaign of violence has all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing."
    Expand
  4. 4. India’s Objection to the Documentary

    Spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, wondered about the purpose of an alleged “agenda” behind the documentary and said that India did “not wish to dignify such efforts.”

    “Let me just make it very clear that we think this is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, the lack of objectivity, and frankly a continuing colonial mindset, are blatantly visible,” he said.

    Moreover, Bagchi said that if anything, the documentary is “a reflection on the agency and individuals that are peddling this narrative again.”

    He was also asked about Jack Straw’s comments in the series and said that Straw seemed to be referring to an internal report of the UK government. 

    “How do I have access to that? It is a 20-year-old report. Why would I just jump on it now? Just because Jack Straw says it, how do they lend it that much legitimacy,” he questioned. 

    Noting that the documentary has not been screened in India, Bagchi further said:

    “I heard words like inquiry and investigation. There is a reason why we used the word colonial mindset. We do not use words loosely. What enquiry? They were diplomats here... investigation, are they ruling the country. I do not agree with that characterisation.” 

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

'Families Without Justice': What Did Imran Hussain Say?

During the PMQs, Hussain, the Labour MP from Bradford East confronted Sunak and said that the BBC revealed that the FCDO “knew the extent of Narendra Modi’s involvement in the Gujarat massacre that paved the way for the persecution of Muslims and other minorities that we see in India today.”

Hussain also pointed out that several senior diplomats reported that the violence could not have taken place "without a climate of impunity.” He also claimed to quote the FCDO and said that Modi was “…in the FCDO’s words, ‘directly responsible’ for the violence.”

He then went on to launch a pointed question towards Sunak and asked, “Given that hundreds were brutally killed and that families across India and the world, including here in the UK, are still without justice, does the Prime Minister agree with his Foreign Office diplomats that Modi was directly responsible?” 

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Now, What Did Rishi Sunak Say?

Not Much.

Without directly naming the Indian PM, Sunak said, “The UK government’s position on that is clear and longstanding, and it has not changed.” 

He added, “Of course, we do not tolerate persecution anywhere, but I am not sure that I agree at all with the characterisation that the hon. gentleman has put forward.”

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What About the Elusive ‘Internal’ Report?

In the BBC’s documentary series, Jack Straw, British foreign secretary during the riots, said, “What we did was to establish an inquiry and have a team go to Gujarat and find out for themselves what had happened. And they produced a very thorough report.” 

Straw further added that, according to the report, the claims that “Chief Minister Modi had played a pretty active part in pulling back the police and in tacitly encouraging the Hindu extremists” was “very shocking” and “very serious.”

The BBC said, “The report, sent as a diplomatic cable and marked ‘restricted’, has never been published before.”

Moreover, the programme highlighted “extraordinary claims” from the report, which allegedly said:

“Extent of violence much greater than reported… widespread and systematic rape of Muslim women…. Violence, politically motivated.... Aim was to purge Muslims from Hindu areas. The systematic campaign of violence has all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing."
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India’s Objection to the Documentary

Spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, wondered about the purpose of an alleged “agenda” behind the documentary and said that India did “not wish to dignify such efforts.”

“Let me just make it very clear that we think this is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, the lack of objectivity, and frankly a continuing colonial mindset, are blatantly visible,” he said.

Moreover, Bagchi said that if anything, the documentary is “a reflection on the agency and individuals that are peddling this narrative again.”

He was also asked about Jack Straw’s comments in the series and said that Straw seemed to be referring to an internal report of the UK government. 

“How do I have access to that? It is a 20-year-old report. Why would I just jump on it now? Just because Jack Straw says it, how do they lend it that much legitimacy,” he questioned. 

Noting that the documentary has not been screened in India, Bagchi further said:

“I heard words like inquiry and investigation. There is a reason why we used the word colonial mindset. We do not use words loosely. What enquiry? They were diplomats here... investigation, are they ruling the country. I do not agree with that characterisation.” 

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Edited By :Ahamad Fuwad
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